Taking a quick glance at the performance of the energy sector since the start of the year and it would be hard to believe anyone claiming that energy stocks are on fire. The energy sector is down about 7.5% year to date, and yet, since bottoming on Aug. 21, energy stocks have climbed more than 13%. With Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM

) and Chevron Corporation (CVX) up about 10% since mid-August, Haliburton Co. (HAL) up more than 15%, and ConocoPhillips (COP) up over 25%, it looks as though the energy sector is beginning to thaw, according to Barron’s.

Energy Winners

Other energy out-performers since the summer have been Devon Energy Corp. (DVN

) with a more than 33% rise since mid-August, and Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO), which is up more than 45%. Devon is trading at a forward price to earnings ratio (P/E Ratio) of 18.45 while Marathon’s is trading at -82.21.

With OPEC recently announcing that shale oil production will grow much faster than previously expected over the next four years, U.S. shale…