Istanbul, Turkey – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Friday the discovery of a vast natural gas field in the Black Sea. With the prospect of long-term energy security, Erdoğan is also vowing to step up energy exploration in Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean waters.

“Turkey has made its biggest natural gas discovery,” said Erdoğan at a news conference, calling it a “historic day” and adding that the discovery offers Turkey a “new era.”

The Turkish president said the new gas field contains 320 billion cubic meters of natural gas and could start producing by 2023, to coincide with the centenary celebrations marking the foundation of the Turkish Republic.