A group led by Macquarie has pulled out of bidding for Total's French gas network, a person with knowledge of the matter says.

Macquarie, which had teamed up with three partners, decided not to submit an offer for the TIGF gas-pipeline network spanning about 5000 kilometers in south-western France, the person said, asking not to be named because the process is private.

TIGF’s gas storage business didn’t meet Macquarie’s investment criteria, the person said.

Total had chosen five groups of bidders to make final submissions by mid-January, people have said. The other four bidding groups are led by AXA, French government fund CDC Infrastructure, Electricite de France and Enagas, according to company officials and press reports.

The asset may fetch about 2.5 billion euros ($3.1 billion), people have said. Officials at Total and Macquarie declined to comment.

Total chief executive Christophe de Margerie said last month Europe’s third-biggest oil company has received seven bids for the network and wants the sale to go ‘‘quite quickly.’’

He declined to detail how many were short-listed or to give a price sought for the asset. TIGF’s storage business operates about a fifth of France’s total capacity.

The explorer is selling TIGF as part of a plan to sell $US15 billion to $US20 billion of assets from 2012 to 2014 in order to raise cash for oil and gas projects.

Bloomberg