A landmark pipeline carrying natural gas from Central Asia to China began working Monday in a development that will loosen Russia's grip over the region's vast energy resources. The leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan jointly turned on the tap to the pipeline in northeastern Turkmenistan, sending the first gas on its way to energy-hungry China. The pipeline is the first major Central Asia gas export route to bypass Russia. It will play a key role in wresting the former Soviet republics in the region out of Moscow's economic sphere of influence. Gas deliveries to China through the pipeline are expected to hit around 13 billion cubic meters in 2010. Supplies will reach 30 billion cubic meters by 2013, after the route has been definitively completed.