This is a short but interesting interview in the New Scientist that explores Craig Venter's partnership with Exxon Mobil to turn living algae into oil producing factories.
When asked what the desired outcome will be, Venter says:
"Our aim is to have a real and significant impact on the billions of gallons [of oil] that are consumed worldwide. Materials used to make a vast range of products - clothing, carpets, medicines, plastics - come from oil. The goal is to try and replace as many of these as possible. The expectation is that doing it on this scale will take five to 10 years."