Tight gas reservoirs commonly occur in clastic formations having a complex pore structure and a high water saturation, which results in a threshold pressure gradient (TPG) for gas seepage. The micropore characteristics of a tight sandstone gas reservoir (Tuha oilfield, Xinjiang, China) were studied, based on X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and high pressure mercury testing. The TPG of gas in cores of the tight gas reservoir was investigated under various water saturation conditions, paying special attention to core permeability and water saturation impact on the TPG. A mathematical TPG model applied a multiple linear regression method to evaluate the influence of core permeability and water saturation. The results show that the tight sandstone gas reservoir has a high content of clay minerals, and especially a large proportion of illite–smectite mixed layers. The pore diameter is distributed below 1 micron, comprising mesopores and micropores. With a decrease of reservoir permeability, the number of micropores increases sharply. Saturated water tight cores show an obvious non-linear seepage characteristic, and the TPG of gas increases with a decrease of core permeability or an increase of water saturation. The TPG model has a high prediction accuracy and shows that permeability has a greater impact on TPG at high water saturation, while water saturation has a greater impact on TPG at low permeability.
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