The second of the postwar bidding contests to determine which of the members of the world's major oil companies would land the rights to work on Iraq's giant oilfields was completed last weekend. Surprisingly, not a single U.S. company walked away with new property charts under its arm.

Indeed, the Americans, including ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX), didn't participate, save for an unsuccessful bid by Occidental (NYSE:OXY). Of course, Exxon may just have had dreams of newly purchased XTO (NYSE:XTO) dancing in its head.

Essentially, the objective of the event is an ultimate effort to raise Iraq's daily output during the next six years, from its current level near 2.5 million barrels per day to closer to 12 million daily barrels. The latter figure would pretty much place it neck and neck with current world leader Saudi Arabia.

The generally successful two days of bidding saw a total of seven properties taken by the more than 40 participating companies. Perhaps the biggest prize went to Russia's Lukoil and Norway's Statoil (NYSE:STO), which claimed the West Qurna Phase 2 field, with its nearly 13 billion barrels of reserves. As such, it was likely the belle of the ball. Ironically, Lukoil had the field under contract in Saddam Hussein's days, only to watch the dictator cancel the pact in 2002.

But what should the message be from the American shutout? Probably less than you think. You'll recall that in the first round of bidding in June, only one group -- led by BP (NYSE:BP) and CNPC -- walked away with a deal for the giant Rumaila field. Subsequently, however, a consortium led by Exxon and Shell (NYSE:RDS-A), along with another headed up by Italy's Eni were able to work out contracts away from the bidding process.

So who's to say that history won't repeat itself? All of the American companies are well aware the of the 115 billion barrels of reserves -- some would say that the number could be far higher -- in Iraq. On that basis alone, and given the events after the June session, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see contracts written by the American companies with the Iraqi government sans the bidding process.

In the meantime, I'd suggest that Fools keep a close eye on activities in this oil-rich country. My favorites among the currently participating companies are Exxon and BP, both of which are solidly managed, with strong futures in Iraq and elsewhere.

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Statoil ASA is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. The Fool owns shares of XTO Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies named above. He does welcome your questions or comments. The fool has a disclosure policy.