The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration states that Canada has the third-largest amount of oil reserves in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. About 98 percent of Canadian reserves exist as oil sands, which the EIA said accounts for 170 billion barrels worth of oil.
Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, told Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail that the industry there needs to allay concerns that oil sands production comes with dire environmental consequences.
"If the necessary (mitigation) measures are taken in terms of the production and transportation of oil sands, this will not have any significant impact on CO2 emissions growth" he was quoted as saying.
The Canadian newspaper states that the country accounts for 2 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Oil sands production accounts for 0.1 percent of global emissions.
Birol said the push for a low-carbon economy is creating major shifts in the international energy sector.
"But there are some countries who have the potential to win but if they do not take the necessary steps, they can be losers," he said. "And I believe Canada is one of them."