Pressure measurements using drill stem tests and estimates from log data calculation indicate that three vertically stacked regional pressure compartments exist in the Qikou Depression of Bohai Bay Basin, N. China. The compartments comprise hydrostatic, upper weak, and lower overpressure systems. Laterally, overpressure (pressure coefficient > 1.2) occurs in the deeper areas and weakens gradually from the centre to the margin of the depression. The accumulation of oil and gas exhibits the interesting characteristics of oil-bearing layers above gas-bearing layers in the Qikou Depression. The pattern can be accounted for by the evolution of overpressure system, the maturity process of the source rock and the main fault activity. In the late Dongying Formation (Ed, 30 Ma), the lower overpressure system began to form shape, and the hydrocarbon sources generated a large volume of oil. However, because there was no migration pathway, the oil only accumulated in the original strata. In the late Guantao Formation (Ng, 12 Ma), the gas was generated, the upper overpressure system formed gradually, and the activity of the main fault gradually increased. Then, the overpressure pushed the early gathered oil to flow from the lower overpressure system into the upper overpressure system. Afterwards, the activity of the main fault decreased again and remains weak until now. Thus, later generated natural gas cannot keep migrating along the main fault and can only accumulate in the lower overpressure system. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.