France’s Total has refused to comment about claims it has restarted talks with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) over a joint venture to develop phase 11 of the South Pars gas field.

According to the state-run news agency Isna, NIOC has restarted talks with Total and China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) over the development of the gas field.

A spokeswoman for Total declined to comment about the talks, but says Iran remains a country that has huge potential in terms of hydrocarbons reserves.

Total and Malaysia’s Petronas signed a deal with NIOC in 2004 to develop phase 11 of the field, but the French company has yet to start work because of fears over US and UN sanctions against Iran.

In June, CNPC signed a deal to develop the upstream portion of phase 11, which appeared to replace Petronas and Total.

According to Isna, Reza Kasaiezadeh, managing director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company, said talks had re-opened between Total and the Iranian authorities.