Turkmenistan has began construction works on a $10b natural gas pipeline project designed to provide up to 33bcm/year of gas from the Galkynysh gas field to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI), Reuters reported.

The project led by a state gas company, Turkemngas, is the third phase of the Galkynysh gas field development, expected to be completed by end 2018.

The TAPI pipeline is to have a total gas capacity of 90mscm/d in the next 30 years, The Indian Express writes.

The TAPI is designed to help ease energy deficiency in South Asia and alleviate tension in the region. Turkmenistan is seeking to reduce its dependence on China and Russia, The Express Tribune reports.

“The TAPI gas pipeline project will help promote peace and trade among the regional countries,” Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif said at the opening ceremony.

Indian Vice President, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, added that TAPI was “the first step to the unification of the region.”

The TAPI pipeline is reported to be facing security risks in Afghanistan and a lack of clarity over funding.