Oil profits are soaring this year. Energy companies are capitalizing on higher oil and gas prices to generate record earnings and gushing cash flows. That's giving them a lot of money to reward their shareholders. 

Three oil stocks that are producing monster profits these days are TotalEnergies (TTE 0.04%), Devon Energy (DVN -1.17%), and ConocoPhillips (COP -0.46%). Here's why three Fool.com contributors believe they stand out as great buys amid the sector's profit boom. 

A four-way winner 

Reuben Gregg Brewer (TotalEnergies): High energy prices are benefiting oil companies in a big way right now, and France's TotalEnergies is going along for the very enjoyable ride. Net income for the third quarter was $6.6 billion, up 43% year over year. That brings net income for the first nine months of 2022 up to a total of $17.3 billion, 69% higher than the same period a year ago. This income surge is the first win.

The second win is that TotalEnergies is focused on returning value to investors via dividends. Specifically, it managed to maintain its dividend in the 2020 energy downturn, led by demand declines related to the coronavirus pandemic. And, now that oil prices have risen, it is increasing its dividend (5% in 2022) and pushing out a 1 euro special dividend. The dividend yield, for reference, is still a very generous 5% (U.S. investors have to pay French taxes).

Win three is that the huge profits TotalEnergies is making today are also being put to good use in the company's clean energy effort. At this point a third of the company's capital spending is going toward things like wind and solar farms, preparing TotalEnergies for the long-term changes taking shape in the energy sector.

And, finally, TotalEnergies is an integrated energy giant that expects to have zero net debt by the end of 2022 and an extremely low break-even price. So, when oil prices eventually fall again, as history suggests they will in this highly cyclical industry, the diversified energy company should easily be able to weather the short-term hit. That's win four.

If you are a conservative dividend investor looking for energy exposure, TotalEnergies should be on your short list today.

This dividend stock looks promising

Neha Chamaria (Devon Energy): Devon Energy's net income may have surged 125% year over year to $1.9 billion, and its cash from operations might have jumped 32% in the same period to total $2.1 billion -- but investors in the oil and gas company were still unhappy with the numbers. The oil and gas stock slumped after earnings. That's because Devon paid out a smaller dividend in the third quarter, which the market perceived as a dividend cut.

The thing is, Devon didn't cut its dividend; it simply paid out a smaller "variable" dividend on slower cash-flow growth versus its second quarter. There's nothing wrong with that, as that's how Devon's dividend policy works.

Every quarter, the company pays a fixed base dividend and a variable dividend, which is pegged to its quarterly cash flows. So with cash flows declining in the third quarter compared to the second -- which, it's worth noting, was a record period for the company -- Devon's total third quarter dividend took a cut. That said, the third quarter payout of $1.35 per share was still 61% higher compared to that in the year-ago quarter.

With that, you might want to buy this 8%-yielding stock on the dip. Devon is on track to generate record free cash flow this year and, in fact, even bumped up its production and cash flow guidance for the fourth quarter thanks to two recent acquisitions in the Eagle Ford and Williston Basin. That means Devon should still be able to report strong cash-flow growth in the fourth quarter even if oil prices cool off.

That also means investors in Devon can still expect to earn a big variable dividend over and above a fixed base dividend of $0.18 per share in Q4. For perspective, Devon's "smaller" variable dividend in Q3 was still $1.17 a share.

Devon's dividends may fluctuate with oil prices, but the company is earning huge profits and cash flows and using the money prudently to pare debt and invest in growth while rewarding shareholders. It's the kind of profile you'd want in a stock to own for the long term.

Triple returns

Matt DiLallo (ConocoPhillips): Oil giant ConocoPhillips has been cashing in on higher oil prices this year. The company's profits soared nearly 90% in the third quarter to $4.5 billion. Meanwhile, it produced $7.2 billion of cash from operations.

The company sent $4.3 billion of that cash back to investors via its three-tiered capital return framework. It paid its regular quarterly dividend, made a $1.5 billion variable return of cash (VROC) payment, and repurchased $2.8 billion in shares. ConocoPhillips also invested $2.5 billion to maintain and expand its production. The company used the remaining cash to strengthen its already top-notch balance sheet, increasing its cash balance from $8.5 billion to $10.7 billion. 

It also unveiled plans to send more cash back to shareholders. The oil giant increased its regular quarterly dividend by 11%, declared another VROC payment, and added a gargantuan $20 billion to its share repurchase program. That boosted its total authorization to $45 billion. Since the company started this program, it has repurchased $20.7 billion of shares, reducing its outstanding shares by more than 20%. 

ConocoPhillips offers investors three ways to profit from higher energy prices. It pays an attractive and growing base dividend, distributes additional cash through its VROC program, and repurchases a meaningful amount of its stock. Those triple returns should enable the oil stock to generate attractive total returns for its investors in the future if energy prices remain elevated.