A number of the larger energy companies are building bases in Iraq to help facilitate the production increases the nation is seeking. Let's hope they fortify those bases well.

Iraq's political situation remains unsettled, and violence continues in the country. As recently as Friday night, a soccer game near Mosul became the site of 25 deaths and more than 100 injuries through the work of three suicide bombers. I'm not so naive as to guarantee that the ongoing bloodshed won't affect those who are preparing to help the war-torn nation raise its petroleum output.

On Monday, more than 100 Iraqis died in attacks that spread from north to south in the country. The attacks appear to have been the work of Al Qaeda, leading to concern among U.S. officials that the violence could escalate once the American troop count is lowered this summer.

In the meantime, the energy companies are preparing to do their thing. Within the service sector, Weatherford (NYSE: WFT) intends to have more than 1,000 personnel in the country. And Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB), Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), and Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) are also building up their Iraqi operations. Halliburton alone plans to spend $100 million in the country this year, and Schlumberger is finishing up work on a 40-acre base of operations.

BP (NYSE: BP) has signed $500 million in service contracts as it prepares to lead a group in the Rumaila field, Iraq's largest. At the same time, ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) will be plying its trade as it heads a consortium working on the West Qurna-1 field.

And the number of participants continues to expand. As recently as Monday, Iraq's oil minister said that China's CNOOC (NYSE: CEO) and Turkey's state-run Turkiye Petrolleri had agreed to work in the 2.5 billion-barrel Missan fields. Beyond that, the number of participating companies is likely to expand when Iraq holds its third bidding round on May 6.

Iraq, which is rated at 115 billion barrels of oil -- although some think the real figure may lie between 200 billion and 300 billion barrels -- appears to be a tremendous opportunity for all involved. Assuming solid security for those working in the country, several of the companies named above should benefit their Foolish investors. My favorite at this juncture continues to be the biggest of them all, ExxonMobil.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. He does, however, welcome your questions or comments. CNOOC is a Motley Fool Global Gains choice. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a well-traveled disclosure policy.