WASHINGTON — The Obama administration hopes to lift a freeze on deep-water drilling well before its scheduled Nov. 30 expiration date, the nation’s top drilling regulator said Tuesday.

Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said he and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar were gathering information to decide whether to revise or even lift the ban, which has shut down drilling at 33 ocean wells in the wake of the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I think it is everybody’s hope that we will feel comfortable enough that the moratorium can be lifted significantly in advance of Nov. 30,” Bromwich said Tuesday. “But I can’t say when.”

Bromwich made the comment as previewed a series of public forums he is hosting on the Gulf spill, starting today in New Orleans. Industry leaders, environmentalists, academic experts and others have been invited to the daylong sessions, which also will include testimony from federal, state and local leaders and members of the public.

The forums will focus on technical issues related to deep-water drilling and workplace safety, as well as oil spill response and containment, Bromwich said, although it is likely the six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling imposed by the Obama administration will also be a flashpoint of discussion.

Business groups and Gulf Coast political leaders say the ban on permits for new wells is crippling the oil and gas industry and costing thousands of jobs, even aboard rigs not operated by BP PLC, which is responsible for the Gulf disaster. Production at existing wells continues.

Bromwich said he knows the drilling freeze is causing hardship, but he said the Obama administration is committed to ensuring that drilling is safe and that spills can be contained before allowing normal operations to resume.

Also Tuesday, Democrats in Washington gave up trying to pass even a scaled-back energy bill this summer that would have removed the $75 million cap on oil spill liability and required energy companies to pay higher fees into an oil spill trust fund. The House passed a similar bill last week.

Republicans had offered an alternative bill that would have lifted the moratorium that the Obama administration put on deep-water drilling in May.