Tight sands have pore systems with complex structures and widely distributed pore sizes. We have studied the characteristics of these pore systems to better understand their important role in the accumulation and migration mechanisms of oil and gas reservoirs, which may enhance our ability to evaluate reservoir quality and predict reservoir production. To this end, we carried out thin-section analysis, scanning electron microscopy, pressure-controlled porosimetry (PCP), and rate-controlled porosimetry (RCP) to describe the pore systems of a typical tight-sand reservoir in East Asia. We improved a differential-distribution-based splicing method to reveal the full-scale pore systems using PCP and RCP. We found that the typical pore radius distribution in our target reservoir exhibits two peaks: at radius <1  μm and at radius 110  μm. Based on pore shapes and connections, intergranular pores are network structures and clay-host pores are tree-like structures. Intragranular pores, in contrast, can be different structures under different conditions. If wide throats are present, intragranular pores function as typical tree-like pores; if throats are narrow, they serve as the pore parts of a network-pore system. Network pores are the primary contributors to porosity and permeability, whereas tree-like pores mainly contribute to porosity. In some high-clay sands, however, the tree-like pores may also contribute to permeability. Based on their fractal characteristics, we divided the pore systems of tight sands into three types: (1) a network-structure-controlled intergranular pore system, (2) a tree-like-structure-controlled clay-host pore system, and (3) a network-structure-controlled intergranular-intragranular pore system.

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