The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer 23.5 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development in an August lease sale, the agency announced this week.

Proposed Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 248, scheduled to take place in New Orleans in August, includes all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area.

The sale will be the 11th under the Obama administration’s five-year oil and gas leasing program for 2012 to 2017.

“The Gulf of Mexico remains a critical component of the administration’s domestic energy strategy to create jobs, foster economic opportunities, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” said BOEM director Abigail Ross Hopper. “The exploration and development of the Gulf of Mexico’s vital energy resources will continue to help power our nation and drive our economy.”

Sale 248 will include approximately 4,343 blocks, covering roughly 23.5 million acres, located from nine to 250 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 16’ to more than 10,975’.

A March BOEM sale offering blocks in the Central and Eastern planning areas returned disappointing results and was disrupted by environmental protesters.

“The decision to move forward with plans for this lease sale follows extensive environmental analysis, public comment and consideration of the best scientific information available,” Hopper said. “This proposed sale is another important step to promote responsible domestic energy production through the safe, environmentally sound exploration and development of the Nation’s offshore energy resources.”

Read more about the proposed sale.