In early afternoon trade the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has put on a strong 0.6% gain to 5,474 points thanks largely to surging oil prices.

Unsurprisingly, the energy sector in particular has performed incredibly well. At the time of writing the sector was carrying the index with a 7% gain today.

Elsewhere four shares in particular have stood out today. Here’s why they have rocketed higher:

a2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) (ASX: A2M) shares have jumped 3% to $2.45 despite there being no news out of the fast-growing dairy company. Its shares have been on a tear since it released a positive trading update early in November. Even after the strong gains in the last month, I still see a lot of value in its shares for patient buy and hold investors.

ALS Ltd (ASX: ALQ) shares have rallied for a second day in a row. Today the testing and analytical laboratory services provider has seen its shares jump 5% to $6.41. This means that they have almost rebounded completely from Tuesday’s post-results decline. Although the company has advised that it plans to divest its loss-making oil and gas business, the rally in oil prices might allow it to get a better-than-expected price.

Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd (ASX: LNG) shares have surged over 11% to 68.5 cents after the liquefied natural gas (LNG) price climbed strongly with oil. But a further boost for the company came from the announcement that its US-based Magnolia LNG plant has been granted access to export liquefied natural gas to non-FTA approved countries.

Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) shares have rocketed a massive 13% to $4.34. Along with other Australian oil and gas producers, Santos was given a huge boost from the surprise announcement that OPEC had agreed to cut oil production in order to tackle the global oil supply glut. Although in the short term this will be good for prices, I believe that low-cost shale oil producers in the United States could increase production and drive prices lower again next year.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.