01/14/2013 03:26 EST | Updated 03/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Energy minister Joe Oliver recovering from heart surgery

Joe Oliver, the federal cabinet minister at the centre of Canada’s pipeline controversies, is recovering from heart bypass surgery and is not expected back in the Commons until mid-February.

Chris McCluskey, a spokesman for the natural resources minister, says Oliver's surgery Jan. 3 was scheduled "to treat a problem he discovered during a routine annual examination."

Oliver, who is 72, was first elected to his Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence in 2011.

"He is recovering well at home and is increasingly resuming his responsibilities," McCluskey said. No replacement has been named during Oliver's recovery.

While Oliver will not be attending any engagements for the next month, McCluskey says the minister is working from home and remains "current with his files."

The former investment banker is the minister responsible for the controversial proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta oilsands to the British Columbia coast.

Oliver is also leading Canada’s efforts to get the Obama administration to approve construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline linking Alberta with the Texas oil refineries.