Russia muscles into the east Mediterranean gas bonanza, chalking up a 25-year deal with Syria for exclusive offshore exploration rights, part of Vladimir Putin’s long-term strategy to restore Moscow’s influence in the energy-rich region.

Under the terms of a new deal Moscow recently made with Palestinian leader, President Abbas, Russia will reportedly invest $1 billion to develop the Gaza fields below the Mediterranean that hold an estimated 1tcf of gas at a depth of 2000 feet worth $6-7BN a year in revenues.

At pesent Russia is negotiating with Cyprus to establish Moscow’s stake in the Levant Basin where the US Geological Survey reported in 2010 contained 122 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas and 1.7 bn barrels of oil.

What does this all mean ? In this month’s edition of the magazine Ed Blanche looks at the developments and reports on some possible outcomes.