When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, many accused it of wanting to get its hands on Iraqi oil.

Last month that chance came - by means of open bidding - when Iraq held an initial auction to allow foreign companies to help develop eight oil and gas fields.

But, seven of the eight failed to attract bids favourable enough to meet Iraq's tough conditions and no bids were accepted from US firms.

Only British Petroleum (BP), in co-operation with China's CNPC company, were willing to agree to the terms, winning the bid to turn the Rumaila oil field into the world's third largest.

Iraq gets almost 90 per cent of its revenue from oil exports, so why is the Iraqi government not doing more to develop the country's oil reserves? And why are US companies not getting in on the act?

Our guests on this show are: Abdul-Hadi al-Hassani, an Iraqi politician and the vice-chairman of the Iraqi parliament's oil and gas committee, Munir Chalabi, an oil industry consultant, and Faleh Al-Khayat, the former director-general of the Iraqi oil ministry.

This episode of Inside Iraq airs from Friday, July 24, 2009, at the following times GMT: Friday: 1730, 2230; Saturday: 0300, 0830; Sunday: 0600, 1230; Monday: 0130.

Source: Al Jazeera