The stock market has been awful this year. The S&P 500 has tumbled more than 15% on the year, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has plunged more than 25%.

However, one bright spot this year has been the energy sector. The average energy stock in the S&P 500 is up almost 50% this year, powered by surging oil and gas prices. Several of these companies could have the fuel to keep rallying, given their plans to return their growing windfall to shareholders. Two energy stocks that could give your portfolio a spark are ConocoPhillips (COP -0.98%) and EOG Resources (EOG -4.64%).

A person working near an oil pump with the sun setting in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Giving back $10 billion this year

ConocoPhillips' stock has already surged more than 45% this year. Fueling the oil company's rally is its growing gusher of free cash flow. ConocoPhillips doesn't hedge any of its oil and gas production, which has enabled it to capture the entire upside to soaring energy prices this year.

The oil company is returning a large portion of that windfall to shareholders. ConocoPhillips initially planned to return $7 billion to investors this year through its base quarterly dividend, share repurchases, and a variable return of cash payment (VROC). However, it has increased that number twice, most recently to $10 billion, fueled by its growing cash flow gusher. 

It's allocating those incremental cash returns toward share repurchases and VROC payments. ConocoPhillips has now declared three VROC payments: $0.20 per share paid in January, $0.30 per share paid in April, and $0.70 per share to be paid in July. Those payments complement its regular $0.46 per share quarterly dividend to provide investors with an attractive oil-fueled passive income stream. 

With oil prices remaining elevated, ConocoPhillips should continue producing and returning cash to shareholders. That could provide it with the spark needed to maintain its market-smashing ways.  

Setting a standard

Shares of EOG Resources have also been strong this year, rising almost 40%. Thanks to stronger-than-expected production and oil and gas prices, EOG Resources generated $2.4 billion of free cash flow during the first quarter. 

EOG Resources had been returning a portion of its excess cash to shareholders through a rapidly rising dividend and occasional special dividend payments. However, the company firmed up its capital return policy by setting a minimum target of returning 60% of its free cash flow to investors each quarter.

At $95 oil, EOG Resources would generate $8 billion in free cash flow this year. At that level, it would have to return around $4.8 billion to shareholders to achieve its 60% minimum target. Meanwhile, with crude oil prices recently above $110 a barrel, EOG would generate more free cash, 60% of which it would have to return to investors.

EOG Resources is on track to pay out $1.7 billion ($3 per share) in regular quarterly dividends this year, given its current rate. Meanwhile, the company has already declared $2.80 per share in special dividends for the first half of the year. It would need to pay out at least an additional $2.45 per share in the second half to meet its return target, which will most likely come via special dividends. Those sizable payments could provide investors with a nice income boost during the broader market's current chopping period.

Give your portfolio an oil-fueled jolt

Surging oil prices are providing producers with lots of cash. Many are opting to return a significant portion of that money to shareholders, which is helping fuel strong total returns. With more cash likely to flow into their coffers, ConocoPhillips and EOG Resources are boosting their capital return programs. That could enable them to continue providing investors with a much-needed portfolio boost.