In our previous work we found experimentally the scaling laws for the oxygen-assisted laser cutting of low-carbon steel of 5 - 25 mm. No dross and minimal roughness of the cut surface were chosen as criteria of quality. Formulas were obtained to determine the optimum values of the laser power and cutting speed for the given sheet thickness. In the present paper, the energy balance of the oxygen-assisted laser cutting is studied experimentally at these optimum parameters. The absorbed laser energy and heat conduction losses and cut width were measured experimentally, and then the energy of exothermic reaction of oxidation was found from the balance equation. To define the integral coefficient of absorption, the laser power was measured on the cutting channel exit during the cutting. The heat conduction losses were measured by the calorimetric method. It has been established that the absorbed laser energy, oxidation energy, thermal losses and melting enthalpy related to a sheet thickness unit, do not depend on the sheet thickness at the cutting with the minimal roughness. The results enable to determine the fraction of the oxidized iron in the melt and thermal efficiency at the cutting with the minimal roughness. The share of the oxidation reaction energy is 50 - 60% in the total contributed energy.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.