The presence of a complicated, variable-depth oil–water contact (OWC) in the Early Miocene L-III carbonate reservoir of the Mumbai High Oilfield has been well established. The OWC dips towards the SW along a curved profile, but the gas–oil contact (GOC) is flat. Very little is known about the possible mechanisms that could have produced this complex fluid contact. In the absence of a horizontal pressure gradient, gravity should produce a flat OWC. In many fields around the world, where non-flat fluid contacts are observed, the contacts could be described as segmented, tilted or curved OWCs. Commonly believed mechanisms which produce such types of contacts are: fault compartmentalization, hydrodynamic flow, ongoing charge; and reservoir property variation. All these mechanisms fail to explain the tilted OWC of the Mumbai High. This paper proposes that another mechanism – structural adjustments after the migration of hydrocarbons into the palaeotrap – might have resulted in tilting or curving of the originally flat OWC of the Mumbai High. Such a phenomenon is likely to be observed in oil-wet low-permeability carbonate reservoirs. Imbibition-related hysteresis combined with diagenesis-induced property degradation in the water leg are the possible mechanisms that can prevent the OWC from equilibrating even after cessation of structural evolution.

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