The three partners in Gulf Coast Express (GCX), a $1.7 billion proposed project designed to carry 1.92 Bcf/d of natural gas from the Permian Basin to the Texas Gulf Coast, announced they will move forward with the pipeline.

On Thursday, the three partners — Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline LLC (KMTP), a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI); DCP Midstream LP; and an affiliate of Targa Resources Corp. — said their final investment decision to proceed with the project was made “after having executed definitive joint venture agreements and having secured sufficient firm transportation agreements with shippers.”

The partners said approximately 85% of the project’s capacity is subscribed and committed under long-term, binding transportation agreements. They said they expect the remaining capacity will be subscribed in early 2018. Duane Kokinda, president of KMI’s natural gas midstream unit, said construction is expected to begin in the first quarter.

“The remaining available capacity continues to be marketed to interested shippers and may be offered as part of a binding open season in January 2018,” Kokinda said. “With this important milestone reached, the project is now included in KMI’s backlog.”

GCX is expected to be in service in October 2019, pending the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.

The announcement to proceed came shortly after Apache Corp. said it had secured 500 MMcf/d of transport capacity via GCX and had become a significant shipper for the pipeline. Other shippers include DCP, Targa and Pioneer Natural Resources Co., which is a joint owner in Targa’s WestTX gathering system in the Permian and is also one of the basin’s largest producers.

Last October, Targa joined the project as its third partner and holds a 25% stake in GCX. KMI plans to build, operate and own a 50% interest in the pipeline, while DCP owns the remaining 25% stake.

The mainline portion of GCX includes 82 miles of 36-inch diameter pipeline and 365 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline, originating at the Waha hub near Coyanosa, TX, and terminating near Agua Dulce, TX. The project also calls for construction of a 50-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline lateral to the Midland sub-basin in West Texas, plus associated compression.