(Bloomberg) -- Pakistan is moving ahead to build a pipeline that will transport natural gas from Iran, a move it says is needed to meet the country’s energy needs but is sure to raise eyebrows among the South Asian country’s western allies.

The Cabinet Committee on Energy approved starting construction of an 80 kilometer (40 mile) segment of the 800 kilometer pipeline from the Iranian border to Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar, using government funds. 

Pakistan had been reluctant to work on the pipeline for several years as investors avoided backing the project due to United Nations sanctions against Iran as well as restrictions on dollar transactions. The two countries signed a 25-year gas deal in 2013, giving Iran reason to threaten a battle in international courts.

Read More: Pakistan, Iran Ease Tensions After Tit-for-Tat Missile Strike

Pakistan traditionally has had close relations with the US and Iran. Pakistan says it needs sufficient gas supplies to feed its industry as its domestic resources are depleting fast. The share of imported liquefied natural gas has risen to 29% of total supply.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.